Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Me again.

Hi. I spent most of last evening at the emergency room. The abdominal pain had become quite severe and, after two or three hours of trying to tough it out, I called both Dr. Richards and the Froedtert palliative care clinic on-call nurse for advice about how I could get to feeling better.

Dr. Richards listened to me describe my symptoms and suggested that the pain was probably caused by more hemorrhaging in the liver. He said it would probably persist for two days and recommended a visit to the ER. He said the ER could provide me with more potent pain relief medications than I currently had at my disposal. The palliative care on-call nurse recommended the same thing. I was willing to do just about anything for immediate pain relief so I happily agreed to do what they said.

Kelly took me to the Froedtert ER. Not only is it widely considered to be the best ER in southeastern Wisconsin, it's also a three-minute drive from my house. We were immediately taken to a room (it's amazing what kind of service you get when you tell the ER receptionist that you have metastatic cancer!) and, after a brief chat with the nurse and on-call physician, I was hooked up to an IV of dilaudid. I had received a dose of dilaudid when I visited the ER earlier in July so I knew that it would work. By the time we left a couple hours later, I felt better than I had felt in a long time.

I returned to the palliative care clinic today for a follow-up. The care team (as they're called) took me off the hydrocodone (aka Vicodin), upped my oxycodone prescription even more, and gave me a new prescription for a pill-form of dilaudid. I'm hopeful that it will help me manage the pain, which in turn will help me manage the fatigue. If it doesn't, the care team said I should plan on spending a few days at the hospital so that they could monitor me more closely and devise a pain plan that works.

So that's the plan for getting my pain and fatigue under control. Now we need to figure out something for Kelly! In the past seven days, she has probably averaged three or four hours of sleep per night. All of my nocturnal tossing and turning, along with her late-night band performances and general anxiety about my situation, have made it very difficult for her to get the sleep she needs. The kids are great help and we've hired some people to handle many of the household tasks that would otherwise fall on her shoulders. Even so, she's carrying a very heavy load these days. If you're in the mood to pray, say a quick one asking God to give her the rest she so desperately needs and deserves.


Terri said...

Well, I am glad to hear that you have a plan to get the fatigue and pain under control. You're doing everything you can and that's all you can do. Hopefully with the new pain plan you can find some relief and try to enjoy yourself as best you can. We are praying for ALL of you guys.

Mary M Clay said...

Kelly is amazing, isn't she? I've always thought of her as a Super Hero...remember when she was balancing law school and the law review with an infant? Or when Aubrey was a new born and she let the entire Dodd-clan crash your Notre Dame studio apartment? Incredible! We will continue to pray for you, Kelly and the kids. We love you all...MM

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Jim said...

Things to be thankful for:

1. You don't live in Iraq.

2. You didn't just miss getting the gold medal by .08 seconds and go home a loser after years of training.

3. You don't have a dog that needs fed, attention, walked, vet visits, or just pooped on your floor and no one wants to clean it.

4. You weren't just at a carnival and got your wallet stolen by a "Carnie". (that also applies to Oktoberfest).

5. You're not a police officer who pulled a person over for passing a school bus with its stop sign out and flashers on and when it came time for them to sign the ticket, that fat hick lady spit on you and told you to kiss her A@% and that she wasn't signing the ticket and then as you go to arrest her for disorderly conduct she kicked you in the nu%@ and called her family on the cell phone to help her and then your back up officers show up in time as you shoot the woman with a taser at the same time as her husband and brother show up to defend her and then there is a pepper spray/taser/fist fight in front of the local high school as school is letting out, and the incident makes the newspapers and nightly news and then you get called into the captains office to explain your actions and take a week off with pay and then receive a subpoena in the mail because you caused the school bus sign violater pain and emotional trauma and the Mayor calls for a city council meeting and they ask if you prefer to be fired or resign because they want to treat you nice but your job has officially ended, only in reality it's election time and public relations need to be clean so you then choosed to be fired and then filed a law suit against everyone who wronged you and then you go out and eat at a restraunt alone and angry and eat bad baby back ribs and get the trots!

Mrs. Nosbusch said...

We always have you in our prayers - you, Kelly and the kids. We read your blog weekly and are praying as fast as we can for you as you fight this cancer. Although you may not hear from us often, your Notre Dame family is always behind you.

mka said...

I am laughing so bad after reading Jim's comment that I can't hardly type. I hope that wasn't a personal story Jim. The "trots" part cracked me up. Trots, what a funny word. Kelly, what was your Front Street name? It should have been Grace, because you're sooo amazing. Jeff, I hope you're feeling better and that you get over the anemia. Love, Myrna, Mom

michelle wait said...

Jeff, I hope you and Kelly are able to get some rest this weekend. I'm praying that the changes they made with your pain meds gets your pain under better control. Not only do you have to face fatigue but then pain on top of that. Like one of those isn't bad enough. Jeff, you and Kelly are such fighters. Love,

katie.elsener said...

Hang in there, Jeff. You are in our daily prayers.
Mark and Katie Elsener

Amy said...

Hi Jeff!
You have not a clue who I am, but I have been following your story since you started your blog. I am a good friend of your cousin's, Kara Smith, here in Kansas.

I have to tell you that I am ALWAYS amazed by your strength and positive attitude, and how you praise the Lord for what you do have, despite what you have not.

You and your family are such a testament to God's love of his children, and such a wonderful example of the faith he calls us to have in him.

You and Kelly and your beautiful family are in our prayers always. Please know that we all care for and love you, in Christ's love!!!

Enjoy your new pain cocktail :)

Much peace to you and yours,